2015 Mexico report

Carl BlackledgeCarl Blackledge Posts: 674 Officer
Loreto fishing was more challenging this year compared to any in recent memory. In spite of the fact that we had perfect weather, flat seas and all the sardines you could want, we were missing a very important ingredient, which was Sargasso. The Sargasso is important because the fish congregate underneath the patties and become pretty much sitting ducks for decent fly casters. But without Sargasso, there are no sitting ducks. So we compensate for this by trolling our Chicken flies around until we hook a Dorado, then reel that hooked fish in next to the boat, or actually let it flop around on the surface and splash to attract others. Then we throw out a little chum to hold the newcomers.
This old trick had worked well for the last 16 years, but not so this year. It seems the new arrivals would come up for a free lunch and then disappear in heartbeat, so we had to figure out a way to get the fly to them lightning fast. We decided to keep trolling the Chicken flies around while looking for current lines and scum lines, and watching bird activity. We prepared for action by stripping off around fifty feet of line from our crease fly rods and coiling it up on the floor in front of the boat. When we spotted Dorado on the surface and were trolling, we put the trolling rods in the rod holders with the line still out, and grabbed our 12-wt. rods with crease flies already attached to them with the floating line already stripped out. This turned out to be a pretty good system for hooking Dorado, but when the boat captain was running to the back of the boat to get sardines and my fishing partner and I were running toward the front to grab our rods and start casting, we collided a bunch of times like we were in a slapstick comedy! We did finally work all the bugs out of our new system and we did catch more fish.
This year it seemed like the larger Dorado started showing up towards the end of the trip and the quantity was all over the map. One day my boat partner and I each caught over 30, and found lots of smaller groups of fish the same day and pounded on them. The next day we maybe got a dozen each, the second to the last day we landed over 25, and the last day we only landed eight. The best trick was to spot or hook a Dorado, get a sardine in front of the new group and your fly at the same time, and when everything lined up, you caught lots of Dorado. When all the conditions didn't line up, you had a poor day. On those good days, we took advantage of the opportunity to dash back to the harbor and get another load of bait because we were fishing only a few miles away.
We had lots of small striped and blue Marlin hanging around in the 60- 80-pound range—the perfect fly rod size. But we had few opportunities to cast crease flies to Marlin because as soon as the panga got close to them, they sounded. All the Marlin we landed were on trolled Chicken flies. I think most of the guys on the trip landed a few each. Loreto was kind to rookies this year. One group from Montana hooked 14 Marlin and landed most of them. Before they showed up, they hadn't ever seen a Marlin in the water much less caught one. The Sailfish were around also, mostly further out. I hooked four and lost every one. I finally figured out I was using some very dull hooks from last year, and after a simple change I landed the first two Marlin I hooked before we had to wrap for the day. Beginner’s luck shined on one of my boat partners in the first week. Gary Rodgers from Redding, California, hooked his first Marlin ever as he was trolling his Chicken fly. I think he was the happiest fisherman I have ever witnessed, and he didn't stop talking about it for days.
One morning we decided to go Rooster fishing. When we arrived at the special spot it was already occupied by another panga, so we moved closer to see what was going on. They were tossing sardines to a very large pod of Roosters, and they were crashing all around the boat chasing their sardines. My captain called the other captain on the radio and asked how they were doing, and he said they had already landed nine. Needless to say we were very depressed and left with our heads hanging down to go Dorado fishing. If only we could have gotten into that many fish with our flies we could have had a field day. We later heard that those fish moved out, and that was all the Rooster fishing I attempted on the entire trip.
Casting a top water fly to Dorado is one of the most enjoyable and exciting aspects of fly fishing in Loreto. The guide tosses a handful of live sardines maybe 50 feet out of the panga, and as you’re standing there you see lots of Dorado streak across the surface, some with that big, green head half out of the water. Most of the Dorado eat the sardines, but if you’re lucky, one will grab your crease fly and then you get to witness spectacular gyrations of the hooked fish as it speeds away. It may run out a few hundred feet and start jumping and flopping on the surface and it may even toss the fly, but one of the other fish in the pack will soon inhale it. Most fishermen have their favorite fish; Dorado are mine by a mile.
I would grade this year’s trip a “five” on a one to ten scale. The beautiful weather, calm seas and plethora of bait didn’t really make up for the lack of Sargasso, big shortage of large Dorado, and rare opportunity for Roosters. We had Sailfish and Marlin but not as many as last year. This trip my own personal tallies for Sails and Marlin combined were about half or two thirds of what they have been in the past. But even in a lean year, I still think Loreto is head and shoulders above other Mexico destinations, because we all have the super pangas with full time captains, and the cost is about half as much as many other places. And compared to the La Paz area, our fishing was spectacular.
The Oasis Hotel staff was terrific again this year, and the room prices were the cheapest we have ever paid. The staff is very friendly and accommodating and this year the food wasn’t just good, it was outstanding. And there are lots of other good places to eat in Loreto if you want a little variety.

The absolute best trolling fly is the Chicken fly in pink, red or blue. This year blue was the winner by far. For casting to Dorado we achieved the best results with the single-articulated crease fly in either olive or tan. Those same colors in a 4/0 sardine fly worked best with sinking lines. The small Game Changer fly in white with a tan back got me the biggest Skipjack I ever landed (and on my first cast). I could barely retrieve it if there were any Skippies around, or Dorado, for that matter.

For trolling lines we used straight 80-pound Seaguar because the billfish really beat up the leaders as they try to kill your flies with their swords. I used 30-pound straight Seaguar with the RIO OBS Tropical Floaters because all we had to cast to were smaller Dorado and they hardly chew up the leader. For casting sardine flies and Game Changer flies with the RIO sink tip lines I used 5-6 feet of straight 30-pound Seaguar also, and didn’t have any problems at all.

Fly Lines:
The RIO OBS Tropical Floaters are head-and-shoulders above anything else when it comes to casting large, bulky flies like crease flies or poppers. Just one back cast, a snap of the wrist, and your fly just sails. It’s important to note that Tarpon lines have the wrong tapers for casting those bulky flies, and it’s a common mistake for beginners to show up equipped with them. For trolling, the RIO Leviathan 30-foot tuna line is top notch when it comes to strength and endurance which is necessary for big, heavy fish like Sails and Marlin. For casting underwater flies like the weighted sardine flies, I think the RIO Deep Sea 400 GR. or the 500 GR. is the easiest 26-foot sink tip I ever cast, and really sails the fly out there with minimum effort.

Sage xi3 12-wts. are the best casting tools ever in my opinion. I love the Sage xi2 and I love the xi3 even more. It casts like a canon, yet has plenty of back bone for fighting big, mean fish with attitude. For trolling I got to use the new 4-piece, heavy duty Blue Water TFO designed by Jake Jordan. This rod did everything I asked of it.

I use the Abel Super 12 reels on both of my 12-wt. rods for casting crease flies and sardine flies. With this reel I can use 500 yards of
50-pound Power Pro and any fly line I want. For trolling I switched to the Tibor Pacific QC because I can retrieve my line with it a lot faster than the smaller Abel reel, and I can also take advantage of the quick change feature. When we are letting out the trolling lines, we often let the line out too fast and the spool will over run and make a big mess. The quick change feature allows you to instantly pop the spool loose and it will fix itself in a heartbeat. It’s much better than trying to disassemble a regular reel in the field, where you might lose small screws and springs. I love that QC feature.


  • redjimredjim Posts: 774 Officer
    Carl, thank you for sharing that with us. What a week!!! Cannot believe it only got a five in your book. Thanks also for the daily reports you sent to a few of us the photos were AMAZING. Any chance you could put up a few of them here?

    I promise to process that one great marlin photo and send to you today.

    Sir, was it two weeks that you were there?
  • Carl BlackledgeCarl Blackledge Posts: 674 Officer

    Actually, I was their for 21 days of fishing

  • sparse greysparse grey Posts: 1,751 Captain
    Interesting report & great pics. Thanks for sharing.
    Ron Conner Release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough.
  • privateer19privateer19 Posts: 399 Deckhand
    was your pangeuros name Rigeberto? We were in Loreto a few years ago for my daughters graduation and had a blast. we talk about that trip often, love that place.
  • Carl BlackledgeCarl Blackledge Posts: 674 Officer

    That is not Rigeberto. actually I haven't seen him around in years.

    Loreto fly fishing is cheaper now then it was 10 years ago.

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